Film removed on opening day
After less than one day at the box office, Chinese authorities have pulled Quentin Tarantino’s bloody spaghetti western “Django Unchained” from local theaters.
Sony is releasing the Weinstein Co. pic internationally. “Django” was to unspool on about 6,000 screens in China when it opened on Thursday, according to multiple sources close to the film. It was not immediately clear how many theaters had played the film before it was yanked.
“We regret that ‘Django Unchained’ has been removed from theaters and are working with the Chinese authorities to determine whether the film can be rescheduled,” studio spokesman Steve Elzer told Variety.
Reasons for “Django’s” removal were not immediately clear, though local news reports cited nudity as a key factor.
Chinese censorship rules are notoriously murky, and Hollywood has often had a tough time navigating through local regulations. However, “Django” had reportedly been edited to appease the country’s notoriously unpredictable regulatory system, so its removal surprised many.
News reports have indicated that the film toned down some of its more graphic elements, including lowering the height of blood spatter and the color of blood.
“What we call bloodshed and violence is just a means of serving the purpose of the film, and these slight adjustments will not affect the basic quality of the film — such as tuning the blood to a darker color, or lowering the height of the splatter of blood,” Zhang Miao, director of Sony Pictures’ Chinese branch, reportedly told Southern Metropolis Daily.
Pic has grossed more than $400 million worldwide since it opened at Christmas.